31.08.2020 | 20:00 | Concert

Musikfest Berlin 2020 | Igor Levit Plays Beethoven | 32 Piano Sonatas in 8 Events | Concert III

Igor Levit's history with Beethoven began 18 years ago. The then 14-year-old heard Missa Solemnis and was overwhelmed. Shortly thereafter, he studied one of the first Beethoven sonatas and it accompanied him for years. In 2010, he decided to perform and record them all – he had already made headlines with a sensational interpretation of the Diabelli Variations. In 2019 he completed the recording of the sonatas and will be presenting the 32 works within the framework of Musikfest Berlin (Music Festival Berlin) in 2020.

They span a creative period of a quarter century. They begin at a time when Beethoven was a celebrated piano virtuoso in Vienna, but still seeking recognition as a composer. They end in the middle of his work on Missa Solemnis, after the death of the woman who may have been his "Immortal Beloved”. Beethoven traverses the universe of what was at the time conceivable in terms of sonatas: from the "lighter" pieces that he adapted to the taste and ability of the addressee, to the bolder transgressive pieces, such as the Hammerklavier or the final C minor sonata. Levit does not play them in chronological order, but rather juxtaposes works of different types from different creative periods, and also keeps dual works that contrast each other together. The aim is to create dialogues and not catalogues. They demand a common basis, but above all clear differences. This sharpens the clarity of the contours and, with them, the eloquence of Beethoven's music. Beethoven sonatas have accompanied the pianist Igor Levit for over half of his life. Accompanied? No, it is more than that; they occupy him and challenge him, and he struggles with them, spiritually, mentally and physically. To Levit, music is an existential experience and exertion, an unconditional commitment of his inner self to the discourse with the written work from which he wants to elicit its secrets. He does not see himself as a Beethoven specialist. His musical interests range from Bach and his era all the way to contemporaries with very different styles. He cares little for the official descriptions and tags of the classical music establishment and believes that every artist is responsible for what they play, how they play it and the contexts in which they place their work. However, he also considers going all the way, from beginning to end, a part of this responsibility; something that Igor Levit is currently fulfilling with his performance of all of Beethoven sonatas.


Berliner Philharmonie
Herbert-von-Karajan-Straße 1
10785 Berlin

Admission prices

€15.00 – €65.00

Ticket information

This concert is part of the Igor Levit recital series that presents all of Ludwig van Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas in 8 events:

Beethoven Piano Sonatas Cycle I: 30 August 2020, 11:00 am
Beethoven Piano Sonatas Cycle II: 5 September 2020, 9:30 pm
Beethoven Piano Sonatas Cycle III: 12 September 2020, 7:00 p.m.
Beethoven Piano Sonatas Cycle IV: 13 September 2020, 7:00 p.m.
Beethoven Piano Sonatas Cycle V: 18 September 2020, 7:00 p.m.
Beethoven Piano Sonatas Cycle VI: 19 September 2020, 7:00 p.m.
Beethoven Piano Sonatas Cycle VII: 26 September 2020, 7:00 p.m.
Beethoven Piano Sonatas Cycle VIII: 27 September 2020, 4:30 p.m.

An event cycle of the Berliner Festspiele / Musikfest Berlin in the context of BTHVN2020.
Supported by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media.


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